Graham Spanier Files Lawsuits Against Louis Freeh, Penn State

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier officially filed his lawsuit against Louis Freeh for defamation and tortious interference on Wednesday.

He had filed a writ stating that he intended to sue Freeh in 2013, but didn’t officially file the complaint until today, which came in conjunction with another complaint filed against Penn State for breach of contract.

The defamation suit also lists law firm Freeh, Sporkin, & Sullivan as well as consulting firm Freeh Group International Solutions as co-defendants in the court action, which involves allegedly defamatory statements made in the Freeh Report.

“Freeh and FSS knowingly and maliciously published numerous false and defamatory statements concerning Dr. Spanier,” the complaint says.

“Among other false and defamatory statements, Freeh and FSS falsely stated in the Freeh Report that Dr. Spanier acted in ‘consistent disregard … for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s victims’ [and] that ‘Dr. Spanier empowered Sandusky to attract potential victims to the campus,” the complaint continues. You can find the full complaint filed against Freeh and his two firms here.

Spanier also filed action against Penn State, alleging that the commissioning of the Freeh Report and disparaging statements made by university board members constitute breach of contract.

Spanier argues that his separation agreement as president “prohibited Penn State from making any negative comments about Dr. Spanier, and required Penn State to take actions to ensure that no members of the Board of Trustees made negative comments about [him].”

The former university president alleges that Freeh conspired with the NCAA to paint the picture that Spanier and the Penn State administration were involved in a coverup of Jerry Sandusky’s child sexual abuse.

“Freeh agreed to collaborate with the NCAA and to allow the NCAA to participate in the overall coordination of his investigation,” the filing says. “He also understood that the NCAA’s only jurisdictional basis for imposing sanctions would be to find ‘lack of institutional control,’ meaning Freeh would need to find that noteworthy individuals such as Dr. Spanier and Coach Paterno — not the Trustees — were ultimately responsible for the actions of former employee Sandusky.”

Spanier’s complaint argued that the Freeh Report focuses on the 1998 and 2001 incidents involving Sandusky, and that it labels Spanier as a “pedophile-enabler.” The essence of the argument is that the Freeh Report — and comments made my university trustees — imply or directly accuse Spanier of knowing that Sandusky was a pedophile and enabling child abuse. Such comments, Spanier alleges, would breach the separation agreement that prohibited the university from making any negative comments about him.

The former Penn State administrator had filed a similar suit against the university in 2012, but later dropped it. You can view the full civil complaint filed against the university here.

We’ll be combing through the hundreds of pages of legal filings for any new details involving the Sandusky scandal that may be included. Representatives for both the university and Freeh were not immediately available for comment on the lawsuits.

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About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.

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